It’s been a long time since we’ve had a pop quiz here, so get ready! Today’s consists of just one question, so I expect everyone to do well: “Who was Jean Shepherd?”
I can almost hear phones beeping and the clicking of keyboards as everyone heads to Google for the answer, but hold on—I forgot to mention that this is an open-book quiz. Writer, actor, and radio personality Jean Shepherd was the voice of Ralphie in A Christmas Story, which closes out this year’s Downtown Friday Nights Classic Movies salute to 1983 on Friday the 13th, 2013.
Thirty years on, it’s hard to imagine a holiday season without Ralphie and Randy, their parents, Ralphie’s friends Flick and Schwartz (victim of the “triple dog dare”), bully Scut Farkus, the fearsomely creepy “Goggles” (who, with about 30 seconds of screen time, made his way into my nightmares for weeks afterward), and the “soft glow of electric sex” from the Old Man’s prize possession, the tackiest lamp in the history of the world. But in 1983, most of the major studios took a pass on releasing a move about a nine-year-old boy’s Christmas wish. Based on Shepherd’s semiautobiographical book, In God We Trust; All Others Pay Cash, A Christmas Story has gone on to become one of the most beloved, and most quoted, Christmas movies of all time.
Come enjoy this family film at the historic Sumter Opera House, located at 21 North Main Street. Admission is only $2.50 per person, refreshments will be available for sale, and if you come early (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), you can enjoy a half-hour of traditional cartoons before the film begins at 7:00 p.m.
This weekend, the Sumter community is almost bursting with even more Christmas activities for people of all ages. As the Poinsettia Festival continues, so will the opportunities to enjoy classic performances, re-enactments, and of course, the Fantasy of Lights at Swan Lake Iris Gardens.
Click on any or all of the following for more info:
- The Little Prince, performed at the Sumter Little Theatre,
- The Living Christmas Story at Trinity United Methodist Church,
- “Jingle with the Arts” at Patriot Hall,
- Carolina Backcountry Christmas at the Sumter County Museum,
- The annual Christmas Concert by the Sumter Civic Chorale,
…and on Monday, December 16, “Performing Arts for the Holidays,” live at Patriot Hall.
Amongst all the fun and excitement, it’s sometimes easy to forget the sad reality that the holidays are not always a happy time for families who don’t have the means to enjoy the celebration. But this year, the Sumter Police Department offers you a chance to help area children have a brighter Christmas morning with the “Cram A Cruiser” Toy Drive. What a fantastic project for those who believe that giving is the greatest gift!
For the full month’s listing of holiday events, please check out the printable Poinsettia Festival brochure online here .
So, after twenty-eight firm but subtle hints, does Ralphie get the coveted Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle? Even if you already know the answer, come on—join in Sumter’s Christmas celebration and head downtown.
And don’t miss the other holiday festivities in our community. I dare you—and this is this is serious—the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-day-dare!
UPDATE—This just in from the Sumter County Museum (12/12/13):
“Sadly, due to weather reports, we have decided to CANCEL the Backcountry Christmas event. Instead, we will be offering FREE ADMISSION to our Williams-Brice House and will have Christmas cookies out this Saturday for you to enjoy inside. Escape the rain and enjoy our Christmas decorations in the house!”
by Colette Daniels